Monday, September 26, 2016

{A Tilda Tea Party} A Dolly Basket, Mini Quilt and New Doll Clothes

I have to admit I was a more than a little bit excited when Fiona from Tilda Australia and Two Green Zebras asked me if I’d like to make something to showcase the new Tilda range for a tour around Oz with the Tilda Trunk Show. Anything I like. Yes. Yes I would love to! Of course, a little dolly basket would be deeevine! And oh boy, yes it was! 

The Tilda trunk show launched in early September in Adelaide and has been travelling around the country, continuing through to October, showcasing the new Tilda fabric lines Cabbage Rose and Memory Lane. Every day a new project and maker are featured on the @tilda_australia instagram page and there are stores across the country who will host Fiona and the Tilda Trunk Show. If you live close by one, be sure to pop in to see the beautiful projects in real life!  

AND...drum is my turn to share my creations! I have used the Libby Dark Slate, Tilly Blue and Flowercloud Dark Slate from Memory Lane. I love that this range has some a gorgeous girly prints without being glaryingly pink. My favourite kind of fabric! 

Just as every little doll needs a bed, she definitely needs a quilt too. I made loads and loads of HSTs, (visit Kerri at Lovely LittleHandmades for the know-how) and had enough Windmills (or pinwheels, I won’t judge you. I lived on a farm, once upon a time, so windmills it is) for only half the quilt. I’m a bit like that. I don’t really work out what I need before I start. Things just snowball. So I snowballed some more mini windmill blocks until I had 20 little tiny squares to sew into a mini quilt. Don’t they look fantastic spinning around. Shame I didn’t think about actually matching them up properly. Please say they look fine. They do? Thanks, it’s so kind of you to say. You didn’t even notice? Great! You thought they were meant to be totally random? You really are awesome, I hope you stick around. They were actually. Meant to be random.

Because there was still some fabric left, and I have a little model, Holly, who absolutely needed a matching outfit, the plan was to make her something new. There are literally a bazillion dresses for 18”dolls online and I really wanted something easy to make but not the usual doll dress. So here is the Lil’ Red Cape and Dirndl. And no. Before you even think it. Stop. This is Little Red Riding Hood-meets-Heidi. There shall be no talk of Octoberfest and scantily clad bar maids.

Let me give you a little history of the Dirndl. Dirndl translates to ‘girl’ or ‘dress’ in Bavarian.  A traditional dress of Austria, South Tyrol and Bavaria, worn by servants and maids in the 18th century, it consists of a blouse, bodice, full skirt and apron. The tying of the apron bow has significance to marital status, a knot on the left indicates a woman is single, a knot on the right that she is married, engaged or otherwise ‘taken’, a knot tied in the front centre means that she is a virgin and a knot tied at the back indicates that the woman is widowed.

You might notice there is no apron here. I like practical. My 4yo can NOT tie a bow, though she may try and I end up fighting with a screaming banshee about a stupid bow that can’t tie itself. No kidding. No bow can tie itself. So…no apron. I really didn’t think every mother would want to spend hours tying and untying a doll’s apron. Or placating a screaming banshee.  Perhaps a pause is needed now to make sure we are clear, to differentiate that from playing dolls. I may have done that recently and actually planning a dolls wardrobe really is quite fun!

Now, because you were really awesome about my little mini quilt’s mismatching random windmill placement, the pattern and tutorial for the Dirndl Dress to fit an 18” doll is here. The blouse is part of a separate pattern, read down a little further for the link. 

The blouse is modified from Jennie's at  Wren*Feathers - I have used her smocked blouse bodice and sleeves, cut the bodice longer so the front is all one piece, extended the bodice width so I could gather it and then sewed a peter pan collar on to the neckline.

Next, there is a cape to fit an 18” tall doll. I have made a Lil’ Red Cape add-on for the barbie sized Lil’ Red Capelet Pattern I released last year! I know, I know. I just said there was no apron because of the bows and the not wanting the tying of the bows all day and here I have gone and put a bow on the cape. What was a thinking?! Well this one can be sewn down and then poked through the loop, just like a button. OR the cape just goes over her head and the bow is just for looks. Simple!

Do you see the hood on the cape? Like how I’m maximising all those little scrap pieces? I unfortunately have a terrible habit of being unable to throw useable pieces of fabric into the bin. The results it endless sewings of mini-things. Lucky I love that! But also growing piles of pieces of thou shalt not be wasteds, that I get a little itchy need to colour coordinate. School holiday activity for the kids? How long do you think that will last! I’m SO laughing OUT LOUD right now!

If you’d like to get the add-on for the 18”doll cape, it will be available in my Etsy shop very soon! You will still need to purchase the original pattern and tutorial for the Barbie sized Lil’ Red Capelet from either my Etsy store, or by purchasing One Thimble Issue 7. This will contain all you need to know about how to make the lil’ red cape.  If you already have a copy of the original pattern, you can purchase the add-on for the 18”doll cape from my Etsy store. Got it!?

Let's not forget the baby doll whose bed this actually started out to be! She has a new reversible crossover pinny, with velcro straps. Easy as pie for little hands to do all by themselves. The pattern for this was one is guestimated and fits a small 12-13"doll well.  

Fabrics were supplied by Tilda Fabrics Australian supplier, Two Green Zebras and all opinions are my own. If you get a chance, definitely visit one of these fabric stores around Australia while the Tilda Trunk Show is touring. 

Fabrics provided by Two Green Zebras/Tilda Australia
Doll basket pattern by MadeEveryday
Lil’ Red Cape and Dindl patterns by The Toffee Tree sized to fit an 18” tall doll, such as “Our Generation®” and “American Girl®” Dolls**
Blouse- modified Smocked Dress by  Wren*Feathers
Pinwheel mini quilt block pattern Lovely LittleHandmades 

**Australian Girls dolls are slightly taller at 20” or 50cm. I haven’t tried this cape on an Australian Girl doll but the size is generous so it could fit nicely.

Happy Sewing!


Friday, June 3, 2016

{TECHNIQUE} Two ways to gather fabric

Gathering may or may not seem like a pretty simple technique to you - if you're new to sewing, if your style is a little more 'make it up as you go along' or  if you simply haven't spent much time following patterns, it may not be something you are completely familiar with.

AND if you're an experienced sewer and you've spent a lot of time reading patterns, you might still learn a tip or trick in this short video I have made.  I have included both the traditional/proper way to gather fabric and what I refer to as 'The Cheat's Method'.

Here you go! Just click play to watch.

Ultimately, gathering is a way to make a piece of fabric more ruffly and full, shortening it to fit another piece of fabric with a shorter length.

And where are we going to use all these gathered pieces of fabric? To make ruffles of course. Or to gather a skirt to sew it to a waistband or bodice, the top of a sleeve, at a hem to add a cuff. The options are endless!

How to choose which method to use? These are a few tips to keep in mind:

Benefits of " the Proper Way"-
- gathers form more evenly
- looks neater once sewn into a garment
- the gathers wont fall out or shift while being handles before sewing
- allows you to gather two or more layers of fabric together
- better for heavier fabrics or two layers of fabric

Benefits of "the Cheat's Method" -
- quick
- fabric gathers as you sew
- no snapping of threads
- its the QUICKEST way
- best for lightweight fabrics and single layers
- did I mention, it's pretty quick!

Watch the video and then you can decide which is best for your project! I use both methods, depending on the final look I am wanting. For skirts and dresses with more fabric to gather, I tend to use "the Proper Way". I save "the Cheat's Method" for dolls clothes, like this barbie skirt I made here, ruffles and to fit cuffs.

If you have an overlocker or serger, I'd highly recommend learning how to gather on that for super long ruffles like on the bottom of this dress.

Monday, February 15, 2016

{ Project of the Week } Vintage Circus Sit Upon pattern available.

Blogging took a bit of a dive last year, but now I'm ready to jump back into it! There are so so many projects that I did and just never found (made) the time to share on the blog.  Over the next few months, I'm aiming to share a project a week, so I'll start with a more recent(ish) one because it's just so flippin practical you should all have a set for the whole gang!

You know I am a huge fan of the One Thimble e-zine (and if you didn't,  now you do!). It's an Aussie sewing digital magazine filled with brilliant patterns and advice.  Last year I had TWO patterns published in OT. The first on was the Li'l Red Capelet for Barbie sized dolls, but you'll have to wait another week for that one (did I really not do that post on the blog??!!) 

The second one was this absolutely fabulous (yes I'm biased, but it really is!) picnic circle AKA the vintage circus sit upon. Yeah yeah, I know, there are plenty of tutorials online for similar things. So why should you make this one? Because it will make you feel very clever! This pattern includes instructions to make a plain Jane circle, like you might find in the online sewing world, plus instructions to embellish it with an amazing applique (applique patterns also in OT issue 9) PLUS has pattern pieces and instructions to piece two different kinds of sprocket and starburst designs. I've also added a waterproof top layer to protect the applique on the top. You could leave this off all together if you weren't worried about your applique friends fraying a little. 

Having two designs that were so similar was unintentional really. I constructed the pattern for the starburst with varied sized wedges first and then thought it would be easier to do all the wedges the same size. My pattern testers actually noticed they were different and so we decided to offer both patterns, ever so slightly different. I love that the starburst makes it look like our hero is popping out of the limelight! 

The free motion embroidered appliques by Sarah at Ric Rac and Retro really are something else. They add such a unique touch to just about any sewing project. There are two applique patterns for this issue plus a couple in some earlier issues of OT. When you combine these picnic circles with the a really funky appliqu, you'll be the envy of every other Mum at the park. Or on the school oval. And kids especially love that they have their own little mat to have their tea party on. 

See how much fun the kids can have with a picnic mat that's like no other. These are great to use all year round, no more wrestling with a ginormous picnic blanket and kids can carry their own. Check out what my amazing testers have done with theirs.

You may have seen peeks of this on Facebook already and if you want to know what I'm doing on a more regular basis, follow along with me on Facebook or Instagram. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

{Batman Fedora for Ben} One Thimble Gift Sewing

Our little friend Ben loves all things superhero and turned up at 3yo kindy dressed as Batman for Superhero week. I thought a Batman Fedora Hat would be the perfect birthday gift for him. Turns out, I was right. (OK, I may actually have checked with his Mum first!) He thought it was awesome, but like all 4 year olds, jumping on the trampoline is far more fun than posing for photos! 

The Fat Red Bird Designs Fedora pattern can be found in One Thimble magazine Issue 8... which I've already gushed my love for, so I won't bore you with that again, other than saying if you are interested in sewing, even just a little bit, go buy yourself an issue. Find it here (affiliate link). I first spied Renee's fedoras not long after I'd made this other fedora here, but I love the super cool style of this one so much more, so was very excited to get my hands on this pattern when it was released. I knew it would be the perfect gift to sew up for our all of our little friends.

The pattern itself is fab! It's directions are simple and easy to follow, and leaves you with a hat that fits perfectly, in almost no time at all. It really is a very quick sew. I have to admit it was a teensy bit big for Ben, but I never measured his head size and a couple of mm in seam allowance error will translate to more in overall head circumference, so all operator error. There are even some great tips on the Fat Red Bird Designs blog for shaping your fedora.

The only thing I did differently, was to fuse my interfacing to the fabric before cutting it out. It's not an economical use of interfacing, but I just didn't want to cut more than I had to. I'm a last minute kinda sewer. The midnight I'm always taking short cuts to save time, especially before birthdays, which is usually followed by after school deliveries!  


Isn't it just downright the coolest hat you'll see on a kid this summer. A perfect Christmas gift idea for boys or girls, and I almost forgot to mention, it'goes all the way up to ADULT sizes. Renee has thought of everyone!  Get your hands on the Fedora pattern or One Thimble Issue 8 to make some for yourself. I can see me making many more of these!

One Thimble Issue 8 Out Now

Follow along to check out all the fun sewing that's being done this week! 

Monday, September 14th
Amy at Friends Stitched Together made a Little Collector Backpack
Jen at Ainslee Fox made a Coco Flower Crown
Tuesday, September 15th
Lauren at Molly and Mama made some hexie wall art
Wednesday, September 16th
Stephanie from Swoodson Says sewed a Jackalope Tee
Thursday, September 17th
Alicia from Felt With Love Designs sewed a Little Collector Backpack
Michelle at The Toffee Tree sewed up a fedora
Friday, September 18th
Rebecca at Hugs Are Fun used the Coco Flowers
Rachael from Sew Today Clean Tomorrow sewed a Desert Fox softie